Queen City Connection Thriving with Warriors
Ben Riche, Tate Schofer and Harper Lolacher will be playing together this season, whether it's with the Moose Jaw Warriors or the Regina Pat Canadians in the Saskatchewan Male Under-18 AAA Hockey League.
The trio got their first taste of WHL preseason action on Tuesday in the Warriors' 3-1 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings at Mosaic Place.
"Kind of got the nervous jitters out early and went out there and we took a win and that's all we can ask for," Schofer said following Wednesday's practice.
Schofer and Riche were teammates with the Pat Canadians last season during the pandemic-shortened campaign. Lolacher will be joining them in the Queen City this season, if the players don't end up cracking the Warriors' roster.
"We have a little bit of chemistry from playing together in AAA, so that definitely made it easier," the Regina product said.
In seven games last season with the Pat Canadians, Schofer finished with three goals and six points. In 2019-20 with the Prairie Hockey Academy, he scored 14 goals and 28 points in 34 games.
He made his physical presence felt in his first WHL contest.
"I felt like I handled myself pretty well," he said. "Went out there and laid the body a little bit, made a physical presence early to introduce myself to the WHL. I gave hits, I took hits and it was really good."
Riche was selected by the Warriors in the second round of the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft and signed with the team earlier this year.
Last season, Riche had two goals and seven points in seven games with the Pat Canadians. The Bethune product posted 34 goals and 71 points in 29 games with the Prairie Storm during his bantam draft season in 2019-20.
He said he feels good about how he handled his first WHL experience.
"It's going to take a little bit of time to get used to WHL pace and how things roll around here, but I felt I improved as the game went on," he said.
Riche said he was pleased with how the Warriors looked in their first game action of the preseason.
"It was lots of fun how all the guys just came together, we haven't played together yet and just kind of figured things out as we went," he said.
Lolacher and Schofer signed with the Warriors coming out of training camp and had the opportunity to jump right into WHL action on Tuesday.
He said it took a couple of shifts to adjust to the pace of the game, but after that he felt like he settled in.
"It was a very fast pace and I just tried my hardest to keep up and I got used it as the game went on," Lolacher said.
Lolacher suited up in three games with the Tisdale Trojans under-18 AAA team last season, finishing with one goal. He had seven goals and 16 points in 27 games with the Notre Dame Hounds under-15 prep squad in 2019-20.
The Pilot Butte product said playing on a line with Riche and Schofer helped ease him into his first WHL game.
"Benny and Schof are good players and we worked hard as a unit," he said.
The Warriors will have another chance to impress the coaches coming up on Friday night when the team travels to Swift Current to take on the Broncos. Moose Jaw hosts Swift Current at Mosaic Place on Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Mosaic Place.
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